David Satcher Public Health Scholars Program

The David Satcher Public Health Scholars Program provides tuition support and the opportunity to conduct research at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute to students from under-represented backgrounds. The program honors the public health contributions of David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., and his commitment to eliminate health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities and individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Program Description

  • Two-year scholarships, awarded annually on the basis of merit 
  • Provides full- or partial-tuition support and the opportunity to conduct research at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Scholars serve as student representatives on the Vanderbilt MPH Programs Diversity Committee


  • Incoming students from backgrounds underrepresented in health-related sciences


  • There is no separate application; awardees are informed of the scholarship at the time they receive their admissions notification

Previous Recipients

Aamer Imdad, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Epidemiology track of the MPH Program. Born in Pakistan, he came to Vanderbilt as a fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology following his Pediatric Residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Aamer’s research experience includes a Research Fellowship in Global Health in the Division of Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. His research interests include nutrition and gastrointestinal infections in children especially those living in low-middle income countries. He aims to enhance his skills in epidemiology with an MPH degree and continue to work for children in developing countries. 

Rany Octaria, M.D., M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Global Health track of the MPH Program. She came to Nashville from her native Indonesia after earning her medical degree at the University of Indonesia and working as a physician in a public hospital in Sumatra Island. Her research interest is in infectious disease epidemiology, focusing on HIV/AIDS.  She is taking the program to further her knowledge about the necessary research skills and public health strategies in dealing with the challenges of conducting medical research in developing countries with strong ethnic and religious traditions.

Kidane Sarko, M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Global Health track of the MPH Program. A native of Ethiopia, he came to Nashville after earning his B.S. in Biology and Pre-Medicine from Taylor University. Kidane’s MPH degree will help him achieve his goal of reviving unserved and underserved communities through education by using local assets and creating awareness. It will give him skills and experiences to empower and develop communities; by working with local and global organizations, he will have the ability to bring about much-needed change and alleviation to poverty by using effective and better policies  and to promote Global Health.     

Mariu Carlo, M.D., M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Epidemiology track of the MPH Program, an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine & Public Health, and an advanced research fellow in the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Nashville.  Mariu was raised in Birmingham, AL and completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University. She completed both medical school and Internal Medicine residency at Vanderbilt. Influenced by her experiences with family members with dementia and with volunteering at nursing homes for the poor in Boston, Mariu completed a geriatric clinical fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Mariu plans to use the training she has gained from the MPH to improve the lives of vulnerable older adults, in particular the critically ill, those in nursing homes, and those with dementia.

Bhinnata Piya, M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Global Health track of the MPH Program. A native of Nepal, she worked at Possible (previously called Nyaya Health), before joining Vanderbilt, as an advanced care consultant helping the Nepali Ministry of Health and Population establish systems to strengthen surgical and specialty care capacities in Far-Western Nepal. Bhinnata completed her B.A. at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY with a double major in finance and sociology. She hopes to use her academic training at Vanderbilt and practicum experience with Unite for Sight and Partners in Health/Liberia as a stepping stone towards building a successful career in health systems strengthening in low-resource settings.

Najibah Galadanci, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. candidate, is a student in the Epidemiology track of the MPH Program. Originally from Nigeria, she received her bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery at Bayero University, Kano and completed her fellowship training in pathology at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. As the attending hematologist at the hospital, she specializes in patients with sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder in the world. She plans to combine her clinical experience with public health training in epidemiology in a research-oriented career aimed at improving the prevention and treatment of sickle cell disease in Nigeria.

Scott Revey, M.A., M.P.H. candidate,, is a student in the Global Health track of the MPH Program. A native of Alameda, California, he recently received a master’s degree in comparative politics from Vanderbilt University. He seeks to focus his global health studies on health care policy, program analysis, and research design with the aim of making a lasting impact on health equity in his career. Before coming to Vanderbilt he completed a bachelor of arts in Spanish literature at the University of Arizona.

Imani Brown, M.P.H., graduated from the Global Health track of the MPH Program. A native of Jamaica, she joined Vanderbilt most recently from Montreal, Canada, where she worked for the African Canadian Development and Prevention Network and assisted with research at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Imani completed her B.A. in Romance Languages as well as pre-medical studies at Dartmouth College. After completing the MPH Program, Imani plans to attend medical school and build upon her global health skills.

Lanla Conteh, M.D., M.P.H., completed the Epidemiology track of the MPH Program as a fellow in the Vanderbilt Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Born in Sierra Leone, her family moved around the West African coast and she spent time in Guinea before attending high school in The Gambia. She then moved to Atlanta, where she studied Chemistry and French at Emory University before attending medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She completed her residency in the Internal Medicine and Pediatric Residency Program.

Yaa Kumah-Crystal, M.D., M.P.H., completed the Epidemiology track of the MPH Program as a Pediatric Endocrinology fellow. She was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and attended college at Johns Hopkins University. She came to Nashville to pursue a medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, then stayed on for her pediatric residency at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Yaa acquired an interest in Type 1 diabetes when her childhood friend, and now her husband, developed diabetes in high school. She hopes to combine an interest in disease management of diabetes mellitus type 1 with her interest in biomedical informatics to develop tools and techniques to improve patient compliance and outcomes in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Candice Williams, M.D., M.P.H., graduated from the MPH Program as a fellow in General Pediatrics. Candice excelled in academics as the recipient of the Wayne State University School of Medicine Board of Governors’ Merit Scholarship while continuing to be active in community outreach, advocacy projects and research. During medical school, she completed over 100 volunteer and outreach hours, conducted Quality Improvement projects and authored four new patient education handouts as well as a case report published October 2010 in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. As part of the MPH Program, Candice worked with Dr. William Cooper, exploring racial differences in use of follow-up care for adolescents with suicide attempts.

Dwayne Dove, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., graduated from the MPH Program as a fellow in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. Dwayne’s Ph.D. thesis on the role of macrophage cholesterol homeostasis in the development of atherosclerosis yielded three first-author publications and a competitive pre-doctoral research grant from the American Heart Association. His participation in Vanderbilt’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) and Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) have contributed to his career focus of clinical investigation and public health. As part of the MPH Program, Dwayne worked with Dr. Laurie Cutting to study issues related to reading skills and developmental disabilities.

Rachel Idowu, M.D., M.P.H., completed the MPH Program while a resident in the Division of General Surgery. She was awarded a position in the NIH's prestigious Fogarty Clinical International Research Fellows Program. From 2011-2012, Rachel lived and worked in Kenya, partnering with officials in the Kenyan Ministry of Health who oversee and facilitate the delivery of surgical and anesthesia care. Following her time at Vanderbilt, she joined the CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer based in Atlanta, GA.

Jeremy Slone, M.D., M.P.H., completed the MPH Program as a fellow in Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Jeremy’s two month international medical experience as a fourth year medical student at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea offered first-hand opportunity to experience the disparate outcomes between developed and developing countries. A trip to Zambia in August 2010 established a foundation for future collaborative work where his research will focus on global health care disparities in cancer treatment and abandonment of care in developing countries. Jeremy traveled to the Satcher Institute for his public health practicum. Following graduation, he joined the International Program at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center as an Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is based at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana, where he provides clinical care to hematology and oncology patients and continues to research the disparities in outcomes seen in children residing in developing countries.

Tera Howard, M.D., M.P.H., is the Vanderbilt MPH Program's first David Satcher Public Health Scholar. A native of Sumter, South Carolina, Tera completed her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University before earning her M.D. and M.P.H. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her MPH Master's Thesis was entitled “Doctor Talk--physician communication with low literacy patients” and after graduating in 2011, she began her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern McGaw in Chicago, Illinois. In 2013, she authored Mommy, What's That? a book to help teach children the basic parts of the human body while inspiring them to use each part in positive way.